Reminders for putting 'the girls' up at night?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wendyrun, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. wendyrun

    wendyrun Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Ok nothing serious here in this post - really just for fun and hoping someone will give me a good idea!

    We just got up and rolling again after a few months' break and have shored up resources. Our new "Ft Knox" has a completely wired-in run with door, attached to the main 'mini-coop' with nest box/ramp.

    The girls are free range during the day. At night, hubby herds the girls back into the main run. Problem is, it's about 4 ft tall, so he would have to squat down and walk in to shut them into the nest box compartment. His job is just to get them in the 'big house'. Mind you, when my brother helped us finish this project, he warned me this would be a problem. I don't see it as a problem, but then, I'm under 5'4", so of course it's not a big deal for me to bend down, go in, and shut the door. I was going to whine to hubby that he needed to help more before I realized it will cripple him to do it. hehe

    I don't know if we can rig one of those auto doors to shut them into the nest box at night or not. At this time I don't want to make another investment just yet.
    No problem to remember to let them out in the morning of course (that's me). At night, especially now when it's dark, I find I am having to chant to myself as I'm driving not to forget to shut them in. They might be ok in the wired run without us shutting the door but after losing our first 2 girls, we're trying to be very very careful.

    I'm thinking a cute little ornament in the garage on the door knob. Or a little sign "Put the girls in".

    So give me your ideas folks! do you have a visual reminder in your house or is the night time routine so in-grained and easy that you don't need one?

    Also I'm trying to think long-term - we used to go out of town for an overnight, and leave the girls 'loose' but we can't afford to ever do that again. I'd love an easy routine that I can explain to a pet sitter. I think long term, an auto door will be our best bet, but the coop I bought and tweaked has a door that slides to the side, rather than one that pops up and down. So 'someday' if I can figure out how to attach it, we'd consider. But for now, I need a visual that I can flip back and forth - or move from one room to another. Just not sure what!
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    If the run is secure, you don't need to shut the door of the coop.

    If you want the door shut, you can fix the door with a stick to outside the run so that you can push the door opened or closed without going inside the run, Or a rope and pulleys.

    I don't need a reminder to take care of my birds. I am a responsible adult and they are my responsibility.
  3. audrey02026

    audrey02026 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2011
    Dedham, Ma
    You actually have to heard them into the coop at night? They usually just go back to roost at night all by themselves. Are you hearding them before it actually gets dark? If so you may want to wait one night and watch them to see if they will go in on their own at dusk. I don't close the door to the coop. I just go out and shut the door to the run after they have all gone to roost. That way they can come out in the run in the morning as I am not an early person.
  4. lclough1998

    lclough1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Try a light in the coop at dusk.
  5. Geckochick

    Geckochick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 16, 2011
    Do you have kids? My kids remind me if I forget, which can happen in a busy life. I have never gone to bed without shutting the coop, but I have left it longer than I would like in the evening. After months of this, I am in a good routine, but if we do something different (go out in the evening, which is rare), I worry about forgetting.
  6. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    My Droid X has the best alarm system !!
  7. keenecowboy

    keenecowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 24, 2011
    Coshocton, OH
    I usually make sure they are all in, before closing things up.
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My girls turn themselves in each evening, and I have auto doors on the housings, but I still go out and do a head count and double check the pop doors (two coops). I do it right after I feed the dogs - that's my reminder I suppose. The dogs eat, then accompany me out to the coops so they can potty while I tend to the birds. I see a dog in your avatar, so maybe that's when you could do it???

    Also, as others suggested, you might train your girls to at least make it to the run on their own, maybe by tossing scratch in there each evening for several days (call chick-chick when you do this so they learn to come at the call). Is there a way you could rig your pop door so you could open/close it from outside the run - maybe a wire like a clothes hanger or something attached to it extending out the side of the run???
  9. G-Man

    G-Man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello, I use the alarm on my phone to remind me of everything, Holidays, birthdays, trash pick up days... If you carry a mobile phone that would be my best suggestion.
    Should you decide to build an automatic door the motor is the most expensive part at about $100. The rest of the materials can be had for $30. Pretty inexpensive insurance really.
    If you need help or ideas feel free to pm me.
  10. wendyrun

    wendyrun Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    "I don't need a reminder to take care of my birds. I am a responsible adult and they are my responsibility."

    Um, ouch. Thank you.

    Actually the quote that he "herds" them in, that's what he tells me and I'm not here. He just wants to lure them into the run before nightfall (we uses treats) so he can close them up well before it's dark. They do go in on their own the weekends when I'm here. Sadly, dog in picture is of no help. One, he's a pug. Two, blind and deaf. Oh well. I don't have kids either, darn it! I'd had my moments after a bad day at work when I'd run out to lock things down after my head was on the pillow with our first girls, and I just haven't got a new routine established. We've had them about a month now so I'll figure it out.

    I am in the dark ages with my phone (tracfone!) but not a bad idea!!
    The door to the box has a sliding mechanism that fits through the original door to the coop (very small) and we put the run in front of it. BUT I could certainly try to remove the hardware and put the handle on the other side so he can do it through the wire on the back side[​IMG].

    I'm afraid we'd a little building challenged which is why my brother helped us build the new run. He's definitely mechanically inclined, and I believe the lure of making a gadget like that would appeal to him very much. Now to get him back down here. Cost me more to bring him the last time than if I'd paid a carpenter, but more fun to have my brother visit!

    thanks all!

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